Maria heads north over next 5 days 

Posted: 6:32 am Thursday, September 21st, 2017

By Kirk Mellish

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Maria back to Major Hurricane status Cat 3.

Severe flooding continues in Puerto Rico, especially mountainous terrain. Hurricane conditions continue for the Northeastern Dominican Republic.

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Although the large, 40 n mi diameter, eye of the hurricane is still
a little ragged-looking, it is gradually becoming better defined,
and a ring of cold cloud tops is intensifying around the eye. The
current intensity estimate is 115 mph based on earlier Air Force
Hurricane Hunter data and recent Dvorak classifications from TAFB
and SAB. Maria is likely to move over warm waters with moderate
southwesterly vertical shear for the next couple of days. Maria’s
well-developed upper-level outflow suggests that shear is probably
not having much influence over the hurricane at this time. Although
the numerical guidance is not very aggressive about intensification,
based on the current trends of the cloud pattern, some strengthening
seems likely over the next day or so. Later in the forecast period,
shear will probably cause gradual weakening. The official intensity
forecast is a little above the latest model consensus.

Maria continues its northwestward motion 9 mph. The
hurricane is expected to turn north-northwestward and northward
around a subtropical ridge over the Atlantic for the next 2 to 3
days. Late in the forecast period, a mid-level high over the
northeastern U.S. could slow the forward motion somewhat. This
high is forecast by the global models to subsequently weaken
however, which should allow Maria to turn north-northeastward in
the flow on the northwestern edge of a subtropical ridge over the
west-central Atlantic. The official track forecast lies between
the corrected consensus guidance and the latest ECMWF prediction.
This is quite similar to the previous NHC track.

KEY MESSAGES:

1. Heavy rainfall is expected to continue, and catastrophic flash
flooding is occurring in Puerto Rico, especially in areas of
mountainous terrain. Everyone in Puerto Rico should continue to
follow advice from local officials to avoid these life-threatening
flooding conditions.

2. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the northern coast of the
Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the
southeastern Bahamas, where Maria is expected to bring dangerous
wind, storm surge, and heavy rainfall.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT 21/0900Z 19.6N 68.4W 100 KT 115 MPH
12H 21/1800Z 20.5N 69.3W 105 KT 120 MPH
24H 22/0600Z 21.6N 70.4W 110 KT 125 MPH
36H 22/1800Z 22.9N 71.1W 105 KT 120 MPH
48H 23/0600Z 24.3N 71.7W 100 KT 115 MPH
72H 24/0600Z 27.4N 72.3W 100 KT 115 MPH
96H 25/0600Z 30.0N 72.0W 90 KT 105 MPH
120H 26/0600Z 32.5N 70.5W 80 KT 90 MPH

THE LONG RANGE PATH IS STILL HIGHLY UNCERTAIN, BUT IT SHOULD BE A WEAKER STORM AS IT HEADS NORTH:

8AM NEXT WEDNESDAY:

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8AM NEXT THURSDAY:

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MEGA CLUSTER ENSEMBLE BLEND:

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GLOBAL MODELS:

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MODEL INTENSITY OUTPUT:

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MEANWHILE JOSE SITS AND SPINS AND WEAKENS:

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Please read prior posts if you haven’t for background not included here.

FOLLOW ME on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB

 

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